Authored by Revere Health

How Medication Affects The Kidneys

October 6, 2016 | Nephrology

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Medications take away the pain when we’re injured and help us fight off infections to make us well. However, some medications, if taken improperly, can cause damage to your kidneys. To protect your kidney health, take caution with the medications below:

OTC Pain Medications

Ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen can all cause kidney damage when taken in large quantities. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking any of these medications on a daily basis. Thousands of people have suffered kidney damage because of overuse.


Amoxicillin, Ciprofloxacin and other antibiotics can be dangerous for those with kidney disease and can cause further damage. People who have kidney disease must take smaller doses of antibiotics than people who have healthy kidneys. Your doctor will base the correct dose on your age, weight and degree of kidney damage. Also, never try to treat an illness at home using leftover antibiotics. If you are ill, visit your doctor for a prescription.

Certain High Blood Pressure Medications

Medicines such as captopril (sold under the brand name Capoten) can cause kidney damage with extended use. Talk to your doctor about whether this is a safe medication for you. Since controlling blood pressure is important for people who have kidney disease, a different medication may be recommended instead.

Certain Antacids

In some individuals with chronic kidney disease, over-the-counter antacids can disrupt your body’s electrolyte balance. Your doctor can give you guidance about which medications are safe to take and when you should take them. Your doctor may make recommendations for alternate medications to deal with heartburn or help you with non-medication remedies.

Medications That Help

When you have kidney disease, it is important to take the medications that your doctor prescribes. Many medications are used to control complications of kidney disease even if they are not able to address the root cause. A few of the common medications that can help with kidney disease symptoms:

Medications for Anemia

People with kidney disease may have low iron. This deficiency can cause fatigue and make it harder for your body to heal. Your doctor may prescribe the hormone erythropoietin, which helps your body produce red blood cells. You may also be given an iron supplement.

High Blood Pressure Medications

High blood pressure can damage your kidneys. And, people who have kidney damage may experience rising blood pressure. ACE inhibitors may be prescribed to preserve kidney function. If your blood pressure is high, talk to your doctor about medication to control it.

Medications to Prevent Swelling

People who have kidney disease may experience swelling in their extremities because of fluid retention. This excess fluid can lead to painful swelling around your ankles and wrists, which can impede movement. The excess fluid can also throw off your electrolyte balance and can lead to issues with blood pressure. Diuretics can help you maintain a proper fluid balance in your body. Your doctor will recommend one and can monitor you to see how long you should be taking it.

As with any medical condition, you should talk to your doctor about the medications you take each day. Follow medical advice to avoid doing further kidney damage and to have the best medical outcomes. By adhering to advice, you can alleviate symptoms of kidney disorders while avoiding further damage.

Have you talked to your doctor lately about medications you take and the foods you eat? Call now for an appointment.

Are you concerned about your kidney function? Talk with your primary care physician about seeing a nephrology specialist.



The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.